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TDRS 8, 9, 10 (TDRS H, I, J)

TDRS 8 [Boeing BSS]

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center of Greenbelt, Md., chose Boeing Satellite Systems on Feb. 23, 1995, to build three next-generation TDRS (Tracking & Data Relay Satellite) under a $481.6 million contract. The award ended a hard-fought, 8-year competition and restored the company's association with NASA after a 9-year interval.

The trio of BSS-601 model spacecraft will replace an aging constellation and serve as the primary means of continuous, high-data-rate communication with the Space Shuttle, with the International Space Station, and with dozens of unmanned scientific satellites in low-Earth orbit. The new satellites will augment the system's existing S- and Ku-band frequencies by adding Ka-band capability. To support this increased capacity, the contract included the upgrade of the two TDRS stations at White Sands, N.M.

The first satellite, TDRS-H, was successfully launched on 30 June 2000. The second satellite, TDRS-I, was successfully launched on 8 March 2002. NASA is supplying three launch vehicles for TDRS replenishment. The satellites will be placed in geosynchronous orbit in strategic positions above the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The body-stabilized BSS-601 model on which the new TDRS satellites are based was introduced in 1987 to perform missions demanding flexibility and high power. The series has proved extremely popular and reliable, with more than 84 purchased by customers around the world.

A unique feature that contributed to Boeing's selection is TDRS' innovative springback antenna design. A pair of 15-foot-diameter, flexible mesh antenna reflectors fold up for launch, then spring back into their original cupped circular shape on orbit. These steerable, single-access antennas can simultaneously transmit and receive at S-band and either Ku- or Ka-band, supporting dual independent two-way communication. The selection of Ku- or Ka-band communications is done on the ground. Receive data rates are 300 megabits/second at Ku- and Ka-band, and 6 Mbps at S-band. The spacecraft carries additional capability for Ka-band receive rates of up to 800 Mbps. Transmit data rates are 25 Mbps for Ku- and Ka-band, and 300 kilobits/second for S-band.

In addition, an S-band phased array antenna can receive signals from five spacecraft at once, while transmitting to one.

On-orbit power derives from two wings covered with silicon solar cells that generate 2,300 Watts. A nickel-hydrogen battery supplies payload power during eclipses.

TDRS 8 suffered problems with it's multi-access antenna.

TDRS 9 lost pressure in one of its four onboard fuel tanks four days after launch. Satellite controllers at BSS since then re-routed fuel tank pressurant around a blocked valve and conducted a series of engine burns to raise TDRS-9's orbit to 35,800 km. The last burn, which put the spacecraft in its final geosynchronous orbit, was performed on 30 September 2002.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Communication
Operator: NASA
Contractors: Hughes / Boeing
Equipment: ?
Configuration: HS-601 / BSS-601
Propulsion: R-4D-11-300
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 11 years
Mass: 3192 kg
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
TDRS 8 (TDRS H) 2000-034A 30.06.2000 CC SLC-36A Atlas-2A
TDRS 9 (TDRS I) 2002-011A 08.03.2002 CC SLC-36A Atlas-2A
TDRS 10 (TDRS J) 2002-055A 05.12.2002 CC SLC-36A Atlas-2A